Playing at the NZ International Comedy Festival 2021
Local comedy scene mainstay Rhys Mathewson returns from a three-year hiatus for his NZ International Comedy Festival show, ‘Heartless Joke Machine’.
Mathewson, made famous by his stint as Craccum editor in 2011 (we’d like to think), draws most of his comedic inspiration from everyday life – ranging from living with his spouse, to struggling with body image, and also living in lockdown.
In his return to the festival, Mathewson’s montage of observations are quite tame. As a result, some sections of the show left more to be desired.
Heartless Joke Machine does see glimpses of Rhys’ comedic talent shine through though. From describing karaoke with theatre mates, to showering with his gassy girlfriend, Mathewson’s jokes are about as universally relatable as can be, and that’s a difficult feat for a comedy set.
Three years is a long hiatus from the festival, and perhaps sandwiched between eager newcomers and high-profile names, Mathewson’s show is rather inconspicuous. However, I am pleased to note it’s a crowd happy to have him back.
“Heartless Joke Machine has good potential, but throws light punches.”